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Was Microsoft’s 180 a mistake for the Xbox One?

by William Schwartz

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Microsoft’s reveal of the Xbox One has been a rocky road to say the least. The company came out with an all-new plan for the future of the Xbox brand, one that made the console and online network into a Steam-like service. We’ve already seen the fallout and consumer backlash from this initial reveal, and it got so bad that Microsoft was forced by consumers to completely change their policies for the Xbox One. But was that a bad thing?

Microsoft made one mistake, and that was listening to consumers

According to consumers, no, it wasn’t. But some believe that Microsoft was bullied into making these changes, changes that might be bad for them as a business and their publishing partners who make games. This weekend we’ve had a couple of public figures in the gaming world come out and speak freely about Microsoft’s 180. John Carmack of id Software relayed his thoughts at Quake-Con, and the legendary developer believes that despite the consumer lust for physical media, it won’t be around for much longer.

Another developer has been thinking about the next-generation of consoles, and in a presentation at Barcelona’s Gamelab Conference by Jesse Schell of Schell Games explored the psychology behind Microsoft’s recent moves, and how it could potentially be a problem for the company. Essentially, in the presentation transcribed by Games Industry believes that Microsoft’s initial policies for the Xbox One were to make the new console into a Steam Box. Schell believes that Microsoft may have made a big mistake with the Xbox One, and “that mistake was listening to their customers.”

The problem Schell postulates is that these big brands like Sony and Microsoft have hardcore fans of the brand. They want the same thing as before, but they also want change, and its a fine line to walk for the company in an industry whose best and most profitable practices are always changing. Needless to say, Shell believes that next-consoles from Sony and Microsoft could be in for some problems because of their inability to move forward.

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